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Gov. Fubara Finally Reveal Blue Print At Economic Summit – Full Text

REMARKS OF HIS EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR SIMINALAYI FUBARA AT THE RIVERS STATE ECONOMIC AND INVESTMENT SUMMIT 2024 AT THE OBIWALI INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE22ND-23RD MAY 2024

Protocols
On behalf of the government and people of Rivers State, let me warmly welcome you all to the First Rivers State Investment Summit under our government, which is barely a year old.
2. I wish to especially welcome the chairman of today’s event, my dear older brother and friend, His Excellency Donald Duke, the former Governor of Cross Rivers State, and all other brother Governors who are here or represented for finding the time out of their busy schedules to be with us today out of their love for the progress of our State. I assure you that we do not take these kind and lovely gestures for granted.
3. Let me also welcome our Special Guest Speakers for today, Professors Magnus Kpakol and Kingsley Moghalu, as well as His Highness Sanusi Lamido Sanusi CON, the 14th Emir of Kano, who will be with us to headline tomorrow’s session of the summit as the Keynote Speaker. We deeply appreciate your presence and anticipated contributions to the development of our State through this summit.
4. Today’s event aims to advance investment opportunities in Rivers State. It provides an opportunity for us to hear from the experts, exchange ideas, raise questions and receive answers to the economic and investment challenges we face as a State.
5. Historically, Rivers State, especially Port Harcourt, was an established commercial centre in Nigeria. The Trans-Amadi Industrial Layout hosted several thriving commercial and industrial concerns that created income, jobs, and prosperity for our State and people.
6. Sadly, all that is now history as most of the industrial ventures in that estate have either closed shop or become moribund. The industrial estate is now characterised by abandoned factory buildings and warehouses.
7. We have since lost our rating as one of the industrialised States and competitiveness as a preferred destination for domestic and foreign direct investments resulting in the continuous posting of low economic growth, high unemployment rate, and slow development.
8. For decades, the Rivers State Government had continued to depend more on allocations from the federation account to fund its expenditures because tax revenues had remained low due to low investments and economic growth.
9. For us, building a resilient, robust, and diversified economy holds the key to sustainable peace, security and progress of our State and the spiritual, social, and physical well-being of our people.
10. We therefore commit to the re-industrialisation of Rivers State in partnership with the informal and organised private sectors through necessary policy, legal, and other support measures, and systems.
11. This was why we approved the Rivers State Economic and Investment Summit 2024 as the first of several measures to unveil the economic potential of the State to both local and foreign investors and markets.
12. Against this background, I feel very optimistic that Rivers State will emerge from this summit and position itself as a premier investment destination, offering boundless economic opportunities for domestic and global investors.

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13. The reasons for this optimism are clear and realistic.
14. As a State, Rivers State is blessed with enormous human and natural resources, including oil and gas, fertile soil, solid minerals, and an extensive coastline with great water bodies.
15. The State is the centre-point of the oil and gas industry in West Africa. We account for over 40% of crude oil production onshore in the country and 100% of liquefied gas that the country exports.
16. The State also is the second largest economy in Nigeria, and with a nominal GDP of over $28.4bn, the State’s economy ranks in the top 25 economies in Africa comparable to countries like Botswana, Rwanda, and Gabon.

17. The State has a relatively robust infrastructure, including good roads, two seaports, an international airport, and a free trade zone, and with a population of over seven million indigenously diverse, educated, highly hospitable people, and a business-friendly environment, Rivers State stands at the centre of diverse economic opportunities.
18. Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Rivers State provides several investment opportunities across diverse sectors of our economy, including oil and gas, agriculture and agro-processing, manufacturing, hospitality and tourism, education, ICT, and healthcare, infrastructure development, glass products, and garments production, and power generation and transmission, to mention a few.
19. With over 40% of fertile cultivable landmass, Rivers State has the potential to make a significant contribution to national food security with commercial investments in mechanised agriculture and the agro-processing industrial value chains.
20. Several state-owned but moribund companies, farmlands, and business infrastructure, including oil palm estates, rubber plantations, poultry, and fish farms are available for interested private investors to take over and revitalize. Additionally, Rivers State presents lucrative opportunities for the commercial production of highly valued cash crops for the export market.
21. Given these advantages and many other attractive opportunities, the economy of Rivers State has great potential for serious investors to tap into, exploit and be rewarded with huge profits and lucrative returns on investments.
22. Since assuming office, we have prioritised peace and security and focused on growing our economy through partnerships and collaborations in line with our belief that it is the private sector, not the State government, that grows the economy, creates jobs, and guarantees wealth and prosperity for our people.

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23. Our commitment is to make Rivers State the best place in the country to invest and do business by creating a vibrant, investor-friendly business environment, and improving the ease of doing business to boost investors’ interest and confidence in the State.

24. We have already implemented certain policy initiatives and reforms, including the prompt allocation and issuance of land titles and certificates of occupancy to prospective investors and a moratorium on State taxes and levies on new businesses.

25. We are also working on the harmonization of State and Local Government taxes to eliminate double taxation and the imposition of multiple levies on investors.

26. Two weeks ago, we launched the 4 billion naira matching fund loan scheme with the Bank of Industry Limited for small, micro, and medium-scale businesses to drive financial inclusion and enhance the growth and development of support these businesses to grow our economy, create jobs and wealth for our people.

27. Furthermore, we have also approved the establishment of the Rivers State Investment Promotion Agency to provide one-stop-shop investment services and facilitation to investors in the State.
28. In the first year of our administration, we received an appreciable number of expressions of interest from local and foreign investors to invest in diverse sectors of our economy, including agriculture, real estate, power generation, and manufacturing.

29. We have signed a development agreement with TAF Nigeria Limited for the construction of 20,000 mixed houses in the Greater Port Harcourt City. We signed another development with Gosh Nigeria Limited for the construction of an international spare parts market. The State government provided hundreds of land as its equity and work has since started at both sites.

30. Apache Aluminium LLC of America has started the acquisition of land to establish a multi-billion-naira aluminium rolling mill (plant) in the Ogoni axis of Rivers.
31. We have opened discussions with Imagine Adama Agricultural and Technology of Israel to support the State in developing our huge agricultural potential, including reviving abandoned agricultural projects and infrastructures such as the Rivers Songhai Farm, the School-to-land farms, fish farms, feed mills, oil palm estates and poultry farms across the State. We have earmarked about 10 million USD for this project this fiscal year.
32. Last week, the State Executive Council approved the proposal by Rainbow Heritage Group to build the New Port City in the State on about 1000 hectares of land in collaboration with the Greater Port Harcourt City Authority.
33. We have also concluded arrangements for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Planet One Holding Limited of Dubai for a 10,000,000 USD Mangrove Forests Conservation and Carbon Capture Project under the Private Public Partnership arrangement.
34. By and large, we are the economic heartbeat of the Niger Delta region and the South-East and our focus at this time is to grow our economy to greater heights so that we can derive more tax revenues to deliver quality social services to our people.
35. Our mantra is “Rivers First.” Our covenant and commitment are to serve our people to the best of our ability with compassion, honesty, and responsibility.
36. I assure you all that our intentions are right; our commitment is unwavering, and with the collaboration and support of all, we will collectively harness the economic potential of Rivers State to achieve considerably high and sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the coming decade and build a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.
36. As the saying goes, and I quote: “When there is light, there is hope. When there is light, there is strength. When you can see into the future, you can muster up enough strength to hold on today.”
37. Therefore, as we embark on this collective journey to economic prosperity, I call on all to join us to invest in the social and economic greatness of our State and secure the future for us and the next generations.
38. We are happy with the quality of attendance at this summit and confident that, in the end, it will galvanize more investment deals in the State.
39. Finally, I express my warmest wishes on behalf of the government and people of Rivers State, to the Consultants, Speakers, Panellists, and all participants and organizers for a fruitful and productive summit.
40. While wishing you a pleasant stay in Rivers State, I wish to assure you that we will reach out to all stakeholders to materialise the outcomes and recommendations of this summit.
41. On this note, I am pleased to declare the Rivers State Economic and Investment Summit 2024, open, and please, take note that Rivers State is open to business.
42. Thank you and may God bless us all.

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